Aug 21, 2010 11:09am
9/15/67 - Bill Graham Presents: The San Francisco Scene in Los Angeles
In response to a request below for more early-era news clippings on the GD, here's one I posted recently at the Transitive Axis forum.
Bill Graham Presents: The San Francisco Scene in Los Angeles - Featuring Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead
The Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
September 15, 1967
Viola Lee Blues, Cold Rain & Snow, Beat It On Down The Line, Good Morning Little School Girl, Morning Dew, Alligator-> Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)-> Feedback
Here's how the show was reviewed by the LA Times: http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/1959/hollywoodu.jpg
The was the Dead’s first show at the Hollywood Bowl but not their first in Hollywood (they’d played three shows at the Kaleidoscope in April with Jefferson Airplane and Canned Heat). At this one, they opened for Jefferson Airplane in what the writer characterizes as "generally a bad evening," mainly because of bad sound and too-low vocals. Big Brother and the Holding Company was on the bill originally, but cancelled for some reason.
The sound quality of this recording is pretty poor, overall, and the vocals do indeed sound pretty weak in some spots, but not dramatically worse than the rest of the sound. It sounds a bit like if you were listening to a show through a cell phone held up by someone in the audience. In other words, it’s sort of hard to listen to. Still, if you stick with it, and let your ears adjust to the quality a little, the payoff is a pretty spectacular (and I would guess, rarely listened to) Alligator>Caution segment.
For some reason, the LA Times reviewer fails to even mention the set-opening Viola Lee Blues, a raw, 15-minute sonic assault led by Garcia’s unrelenting soloing. The tape drops out a couple of times, and near the end it slows to a stop at one point. It’s unclear how much of the song has been lost. At the end, somebody (one of the tapers perhaps) says something that’s mostly unintelligible about the vocals.
The reviewer notes that “Weak vocals crippled ‘Cold Rain and Snow’ and ‘Five,’” which, for some unknown reason, is how he refers to a five-beat Beat It on Down the Line. After CR&S, Jerry says, “We’re raffling off Pigpen at the end of this set,” to which Pig replies, “I quit.”
The article singles out Schoolgirl as one of the songs not handicapped by poor vocals, though it’s not really evident on the recording that the vocals are any stronger. A so-so version, without much extended jamming. You can hear lots of audience chatter during this number. Dew is also rather unremarkable.
But the band really finds its groove for the final passage – a powerful Alligator> Caution> Feedback combo with hints of Mountain Jam sprinkled throughout. The sound quality varies quite a bit during the Caution jam (mostly seems to be a taper issue), but quality aside, this is a pretty impressive bit of jamming.